Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Dinners

I am fat.

Over the past couple of days during the Christmas week, I was eating eating and eating, with a whole lot of different people. It's like all the gatherings and meet up occur over a big hearty meal, during the same frame of time.

My Christmas started off early with Someone bringing me down to Ritz-Carlton for buffet dinner. We've been wanting to go on a buffet dinner for ages, but never seemed to have the occasion, or the cash to do so. And so we ate and ate and ate.

christmas dinner at the ritz
I ate everything shown in the picture.

First up was the sashimi with cha soba. The maguro wasn't that good, the texture was a bit weird, I think it's the slicing of the fish that wasn't properly done. The salmon on the other hand was much better, comparable to the normal Japanese restaurants out there. The soba was not bad too, but I didn't want to eat much of it since it's so cheap and filling. The crux to eating buffet is to eat the expensive and not filling stuff, and not eat the cheap and filling stuff, ie stay out of the way of the carbos.

After the cold appetisers, I whetted my appetite for some warm stuff, but my stomach was still not prepared for the mains, so soup was it. Not too much of it, just half a little bowl of cream of mushroom with truffle oil, and a little piece of bread. I chose to have the soup even though soup is cheap and filling because of the truffle oil in the soup. It isn't just normal cream of mushroom, and my god, it was so good~ It's the best cream of mushroom I've had, it's thick and velvety with grated mushrooms, and the truffle oil was just magic, it created a robust aromatic flavour that I've never experienced before. The bread was nice and fluffy though nothing special. I'd really have more of the mushroom soup had it not been a buffet. haha~

Seafood! The highlight of the day, lobsters~ Yes, there were nice lobsters, with claws intact, so you know it's a real lobster and not one of those baby crayfishes or slipper lobsters masked as real lobsters. With a bit of lemon on them, they were just great. I had an assortment of other shellfishes and prawns, all chilled. I peeled the ice cold prawns until my fingers were frozen. Compared to my prawn eating record, this time I didn't eat anywhere near my record, but I sure did eat a lot of other stuff.

And besides, there was the complimentary feature item, the drunken prawns in hearbal soup, so there were a bit more prawns for me to eat. The soup was really good, with a bit of XO in it, enough to drunken the prawns, enough to satisfy me. The prawns were as good as prawns can be, it was more because that the soup was good that's why the prawns were good. But then again, these prawns, unlike the chilled ones, were live prawns. There was a tank of swimming prawns waiting to be cooked and ready watching its brothers and friends being drunken and cooked.

I only had a bit of mains, because I didn't eat spicy food, so I gave a lot of items a miss. I only had some turkey, ham, chicken, spring chicken, bak kut teh and salmon. I wanted to get some black pepper crabs too, but was too lazy to oily my hands, and the pot didn't look too appealing after all it was a buffet. The turkey was plain and dry without the sauces, but the sauces didn't look too good itself. The ham was carved too thickly that it just didn't taste good, besides, the honey marinate was a bit too much and the whole ham was too sweet rather than savoury. The sesame chicken was wonderful, the spring chicken was passable. I liked the bak kut teh, but considering that this is only my second time having bak kut teh, I don't think my words have much weight. The meat was a bit too tough, but I really liked the soup, better than the first one I had. The salmon was also another nice dish I wished I could have had more.

But I was feeling enough satiated. So I headed off for the desserts. To bridge the meals, I had a little macaron first. It was a bit too hard and too sweet, and I suspect the filling was a bit of gingerbread of which the taste of ginger was too strong for my liking.

Then I went for an assortment of chocolately goodness. But of the chocolatey goodness I picked out, I had a gingerbread brownie camoflagued in there. It was so awful that I had to spit it out and had much much water before I could take a bite into another item. But the chocolate mousse cake was so so rich and so so good.

That I went for a second round of it. It doesn't look good in the picture because it was self service, self cut by meself, and of course, I suck at it. The slice of cae turned out to look like globs of chocolate after I attempted to slice it. But it still tasted so magnificent. It was like reaching heavens in one bite of chocolate cream and a bit of cake and a lot of chocolate.

I rounded up the meal with some fruits, which was a big mistake. At first I thought it was blood oranges, so I wanted to try some. I remember there was a period of time when there was canned blood orange juice and I was so addicted to them, don't know where those drinks went now. But with my pleasant memories of blood oranges, I wanted to try the real oranges. A bite into it, scrunched up my whole face, those were so sour. After forcing them down the throat, I thought that those were probably not oranges but grapefruits. Pink grapefruit, perhaps, but still those were really sour. The rock melon was totally tasteless, even after I had a sip of water to rid my mouth of the sourish taste. The musk melons were a bit better, but not good enough for me to remember much about its taste.

That marked the end of the dinner.

The next dinner was my family's annual Christmas party, but I didn't take pictures there. The food included the usual carbo staple of beehoon, the usual festive stuff of turkey, sausages, smoked salmon, and the usual home cooked stuff of fishballs, sotong balls and you know la... haha~ But the highlight was the log cake which an aunt bought from Ritz-Carlton. It was amazing. No other words can describe it. Greedy me just had to have an extra serving of it. It was just as good, or even better than the above mentioned chocolate cake I had for the buffet. This was more cakey, but had a whole rim of dark chocolate, and it was covered in gold covered dark chocolate little round biscuits. Sammi was so in love with the chocolate biscuits that she just kept eating them one after another.

Christmas was sad and lonely for me since I was down sick.

But luckily I picked up myself fast enough to head out on the 26th first for a cosy afternoon out with Someone before heading down to Bugis to meet the CDS girls. I didn't eat much since I just ate with Someone before meeting the girls. But I settled for yummy Mango Sago at Ah Chew's Desserts. I love mango, I love sago, I love mango sago~ hahaha... Ah Chew Desserts uses fresh mangoes, I know because I saw them cutting up the mangoes to use. Just that without having a savoury meal before the desserts, the mango sago was a bit too sweet. I went back another occasion after a hearty meal and the mango sago was just right.

Then the next night I met up with the girls clique for dinner at Swenson's at Holland V. After that we headed down to 2am Dessert Bar to try out the place.

christmas gathering at 2am dessert bar
We had the warm chocolate tart, the blackberry thingie, and the smoked cheesecake to share.

2am Dessert Bar is really a nice and cosy place for 2-4 people to just lounge in sweets. Our group was a bit too large and noisy to really appreciate the place. And the way we ate, the atmosphere was quite wrong. The food itself is quite interesting. The waiter went through the desserts, telling us about it and how to go about eating it, that itself is an experience. The food iself is erm, interesting. I didn't like the blackberry thingie. The foamy blackberry thingie was not cold yet not warm, so it tasted weird. I think if it was chilled perhaps it might be better.

The warm chocolate tart with blood orange sorbet was very good. The chocolate tart itself was so good, melty chocolate oozing out of a nicely baked tart, but what gives it even more oomph was the wonderful combination of the blood orange sorbet. The sorbet itself was a mixture of sweet and sour in a cold lump. Together, the sweet and sour and warm and cold of the tart and the sorbet complemented each other so well that it was so good. If I were to have a whole dessert for myself alone, I'd go for this.

The smoked cheesecake was another thing I liked, though not as much as I liked the warm chocolate tart. The cheesecake is almost entirely cream cheese, which by itself is a huge yum factor, but it is maxed with the fresh idea of smoking the cheesecake. There's this smokey flavour on the cheesecake which downs the sweetness and ups the eating pleasure because it downs the jelak feeling of which usually accompanies cheesecakes. The rose lychee foam thingie was weird. Like the blackberry foam thingie, I thought that because it was not cold and not warm that it tasted weird. Maybe if it were rose lychee ice cream it might have been better, haha~

I'll be sure to return to 2am Dessert Bar another time with a smaller group of friends, and perhaps reserve a little cosy table with the cushions for ourselves. Maybe I'll appreciate the flavours more when the mood and atmosphere is right.

The next night was more eating for me when I met up with Cindy and Sanmin, both wonderful girls I met in German classes over the semesters. We had wanted to try out that new pizza place at Holland V, but because we didn't take down the address, and we couldn't locate the little eatery, we ended up choosing a Mexican restaurant there, it's more Tex-Mex really than Mexican. It's the one beside Cha Cha Cha, I can't remember the name.

christmas dinner of mexican food
The nachos came complimentary with salsa sauce, then we had a turkey burrito and smoked chicken enchilada combo, some wings, and a grilled chicken quesadilla. The grilled chicken quesadilla came separately and we had to wrap our own. For easy eating, I ended up wrapping it like how I wrapped a popiah, haha.

The nachos were quite plain tasting but surprisingly addictive. Even though it was meant as appetisers, I ended up munching on them after I finished with the meal, as dessert. The turkey and smoked chicken combo came drenched almost entirely with cheese and mayo sauce. They were very nice when it came hot and piping, but after the other food came, and we slowed down eating, and it cooled, it didn't taste half as good as before. The wings were really good, and it was pretty cheap and numerous, one of the more value for money items on the menu. The grilled chicken was the recommended item, the waitstaff said that everyone would order that, and it was really good. When it first came with the hotplate, it reminded me of teppenyaki and hotplate in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Taking a bit of the chicken without the wrap, it did taste somewhat the same too. But with the wrap, and the salad and the mayo sauce, it was altogether another flavour. Still very good too~ Another item that I'd try if I return to that restaurant.

Next up was the Saturday night family dinner when I pigged out even more. My dad brought us to Waraku at East Coast Road there. Sometime over the week my sister went there and told my parents about it and they went there and thought it was great, and now they brought all of us there.

christmas family dinner at waraku
My parents had the pork katsu set to share since it came with both rice and soba, my dad had the rice and mum had the soba. I had a miso ramen, my sister had some seafood udon, Someone also had some sort of seafood udon but was different from my sister, my sister's soup was miso based I think. We also had some chicken karaage, a German sausage, and a cheese salmon with tartar sauce to share. Rounding up with the desserts, the parents had this five little ice cream thingie which my sister had green tea ice cream. I shared my green tea ice cream with Someone.

I tried a little slice of the pork katsu, it was really lean and good. I like my meat lean and with a good bite. The crumb was nice and crisp but not too dense that I could still taste the pork within. My miso ramen on the other hand is merely passable. The soup was good though, the fillings were rather meagre, only two slices of pork inside. The chicken karaage was not bad, enough crisp but still chickeny, and not too much chicken fat which I really dislike, I prefer meaty chicken. The German sausage was the interesting bit. I ordered it so that I can review it for my sausage blog, which I'll do so later. I'll elaborate more in that blog, but just to summarise a bit here, the sausage was really good. Nice porky taste, on a sizzling hotplate. And even though I hate ketchup, this complemented the porky sausage really well, perhaps it was because the ketchup was cooked with the sausage. The wedges was disappointing though, it was rather soggy, but well, this is not a western restaurant, so I'm not going to complain. The cheese salmon was another yummy crumbly deep fried item. The cheese was warm and oozy, just the way I like my cheesy foodstuffs to be.

The desserts were also pretty interesting. The five little ice cream was a sampling of five different flavours of ice cream with different flavours of chocolate coating. The green tea ice cream was supposed to be really good according to my sister. Even Someone thought that it was not bad, but somehow I didn't taste anything special about it. I wonder if my tongue was scalded by the hot soup earlier on or that I drank too much green tea that I didn't taste much out of the ice cream.

Anyway, that marked the end of my pigging outs le. I must start to exercise more and must lose all the weight I've gained. booo~

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